The ins and outs of contemporary furniture

The appearance of contemporary furniture changes from decade to decade; unlike traditional pieces, contemporary furniture tends to have a short shelf life in terms of style. However, by choosing a piece that can be repainted or reupholstered, you can ensure that the chair, table or other piece that you’ve purchased stays on trend as styles and decorative fashions evolve.

Most contemporary furniture pieces tend to have some typical characteristics; these include crisp, clean lines and an understated design. In terms of materials, designers today use everything from wood, to metal and glass in their creations. The beauty of modern furniture is that there are no rules; unlike, for instance, Victorian furniture, which in its day was made according to strict guidelines, these days, furniture designers are pushing the boundaries and coming up with new and innovative styles and structures. Combining design elements found in various countries is now a more popular choice with bespoke specialists; Japanese, German and Scandinavian design features are particularly popular.

Much of the contemporary western furniture designs have a strong Japanese influence. This influence has been slowly edging into furniture design in Europe and the USA since the beginning of the 19th century and has grown in popularity with each consecutive decade. The elegance and simplicity of typical Japanese interior is perfectly suited to what we consider to be ‘contemporary’ today in furniture design. Similarly, Scandinavian interior decor has always has that clean and simple look that modern designers tend to favour. Colour tends to be an important factor in modern pieces; bold and daring choices tend to contrast well with the simplicity of the furniture’s structure.

Sometimes, contemporary furniture, much like high fashion, seems to lean towards style more than functionality. The aesthetics of the piece tend to be the most important aspect. However, in everyday life, practicality is just as essential as style, if not more so. This is why, when choosing a new piece of modern furniture, careful thought must be given to the functionality of the piece as well as the overall look. Take the time to check if the piece will fit comfortably into the room where it is to be placed and whether it will serve its purpose as well as looking good.

If you are on budget but adore the look of modern furniture pieces, there are some simple and affordable ways to add a touch of the contemporary to furniture you already have. A one day project of sanding, painting and varnishing your old chair or dining set can transform the entire look of the room. Use bold colours such as red to really make a fresh and modern statement. Flick through some decor magazines and look for patterns that appeal to you; recreating a simple version of a contemporary pattern on a wooden surface (whether it’s a coffee table, a chair or a cabinet) can be a great way to bring a hint of the contemporary into your furniture.